Saturday, April 2, 2011

Is Twitter and blogging all about narcissism?

Is Twitter and blogging all about narcissism? I came across a couple of “regular” blogs today that were not education related. I did not know the people. They wrote about their lives and I thought it was boring. I thought it was what people who do not blog or tweet think about these tools: narcissistic. This got me thinking. Is what we (educators) write perceived the same way? I definitely think it is perceived that way by some. I lose about 20 followers a week. However, I gain a little more than I lose. Even if I lost more than I gained I would keep writing what I believed in. We have to put our ideas out there so that we can be challenged and grow. It’s not about popularity but, as Tom Whitby once told me, the value we add to the conversation. Indeed, from the outside it all seems a little narcissistic; However, once you find what you are looking by defining your purpose for blogging and tweeting, those feelings go out the door and the learning happens.


  1. I have often thought about this. it does seem rather narcissistic in a way but then doesn't all reflection? I think once again it is what you choose to do with your blog that sets you apart. It is also healthy to admit it!

  2. I think Twitter/Blogging would be perceived by others as boring if you couldn't relate to the content (as with anything in life). I, personally, like the discussions, opinions, and resources shared by other educators. It challenges me to think about my own philosophy of education as well as my learning goals. When I first started tweeting 3 months ago, I wasn't sure about how I felt about Twitter. Then I started following some incredible educators. I find their tweets inspirational, and it has really motivated me to try new strategies in the classroom. I agree with you that it's so important to share your opinions/ideas so that we are challenged and hopefully grow as educators.
    I read a good quote by Peter Senge which applies to educators: "Sharing knowledge occurs when people are genuinely interested in helping one another develop new capacities for action, it is about creating learning processes."

    Thanks for writing this post.
    Stephanie Reddoch (@brut11)

  3. I think there is a shade of narcissism in blogging (more than in tweeting).
    I am sometimes amused by folks who would blog something and then retweet others' retweets of his/her (just posted) blog entry. Sure, you want to be known, and sometimes make a stand but it does look narcissistic.Those who DO care about your reflections WILL eventually read your blog and have it in their RSS feeds - you need not retweet that.
    Regardless of the perspective...I don't think we have another solution at the moment.

  4. Teaching is one of the only professions where people who' are not teachers think they're experts because they were a student; parents, politicians etc. Blogging and twitter is a great way for us to reach out and connect with other teachers that share our views and this helps me back up my arguements to parents about why I do the things I do. It's like having my own little cheering squad!
    Narcissism.... maybe? But maybe it's better termed "a healthy self-love" If we don't love outselves, who will?


  5. Oh definitely!

    But is the result good or bad? There is so much great and true that is born of the ego. So I think we should also ask - is narcissism always bad?

    Research has noted the benefits of socially driven behavior (throughout evolution) but a lot of that is driven by narcissism too. It is more complicated than it appears me thinks....


  6. I blog and tweet in the hopes that my experience or thought can benefit others, or their reaction to mine will help me learn something.

    Narcissism is an unhealthy concern with yourself, so much so that you are practically incapable of thinking about others. I can be selfish at times but I am capable of considering other points of view.

    Any kind of writing has an inherent reflective quality. If people aren't interested in what you're writing then it's because you are either not a very good writer or the subject isn't interesting. People who criticize blogging and twitter as purely narcissistic might as well say that chatting with someone on the street about your day is narcisstic. It might be, but we aren't going to stop chatting with people!

    Honestly, this is technophobia. I bet several hundred years ago they thought that anyone doing any kind of writing that wasn't copying the Bible was selfish.

  7. I wonder if some educational blogging isn't just a natural outgrowth for what can be an isolating profession. Many times we spend the majority of our days with our students--children--and we miss the opportunity to talk with adults. I know my friends and my husband don't always want to hear my stories or help me tease out new strands of professional growth. Many times, they can't understand what I'm getting at the way other teachers can. I blog for me because I can't stand letting other voices in the media talk over me. No one (seriously, no one) reads my blog and I'm not a dedicated poster, but that's okay. When I feel compelled to write, I write. I want to add to the conversation and I like hearing what other bloggers have to say. Could the blogosphere be the current equivalent of the European Salon or coffehouse? I'd like to think so.

  8. Brian,

    Thank you for this post. This has definitely crossed my mind before, but if blogging is narcissistic then I would probably have to avoid ever talking to any of my colleagues about education ever again.

    Blogging is about sharing, learning, and growing as a collaborative group. When an idea is shared, the idea is shared for the benefit of educators around the world. I really agree with @jl8910's point about blogging being a natural outgrowth for educators to communicate with other educators. Too often we work in isolation, and blogging has helped to open doors I didn't even know existed.

    Thank you for this reflective post Brian.

  9. Interesting post! I have thought at times that all the blogging and tweeting feels a bit like self-promotion. However, it is also very humbling and inspiring because I have found so many creative, motivated educators all over the world from having a PLN. Best of all people are sharing great ideas with one another.

  10. You read my personal blog, didn't you? ;)

    I'm sure my personal blog is rather boring to people who don't know my family or my kids. However, it's a way for me to chronicle our life. My 7 year old loves to look back and read what life was like when she was a toddler. I suppose it is somewhat narcissistic as well, because I get a real kick out of reading what my family and friends write as comments on the blog and facebook.

    I think our educator blogs are much the same way. For those outside the education field it must seem really boring to read about technology uses, educational practices, and the like. Those of us connected to the global education community via Twitter and blogs know the value of sharing and learning together.

    I think talented and passionate educators need to be a little narcissistic. We face so much negativity from the public. How many news stories have you read in the last week about a teacher being fired over something s/he did on Facebook? How many times have we heard about a teacher abusing his or her position of power? It's about time we start showing off all the positive things we do every day. We need to counteract the negative press about a few teachers with positive press about the majority of teachers. If we don't speak up for ourselves, who will?

  11. What a complicated question. It is so interesting to see the comments that everyone has posted.

    I am active on Twitter and I am a blogger as well. Until recently the idea that either of these activities could be seen as narcissistic was ridiculous. Then I started looking a little more closely at some of the conversations, especially the tweets, and realized there were some who use to Twitter to shine the spotlight upon themselves. They send out tweets that beg for attention. Can you really say you have not noticed the "fishing expeditions?"

    Luckily, the vast majority of educators are here to share and learn from each other. I don't think any of this can (or should) be seen as self-promotion when there really is good intent behind our motives.

  12. I think we are talking here about the self-consciousness anyone feels when they are doing something new in front of other people. I expect people to tell me about their blog posts, interesting reads, interesting quotes, etc. I personally share articles I have written that describe something I have done in or out of the classroom. When I was a young teacher, there was nothing like this available. Advice came from older, burnt-out, kid-hating teachers.

    All you younger teachers are very lucky you are able to share like this with each other. I do not think you should think of it as self-promotion at all. We all get excited when something goes well, and it is human nature to want to share it!